Sunday, October 10, 2010

Disappointing criticism from The Center for Arizona Policy

The Center for Arizona policy, Arizona's family values conservative think tank, recently sent out an email to its supporters critical of this website. President Cathi Herrod told supporters to beware, this website lacks credibility because it is anonymous. Why is this website anonymous? Because the Arizona State bar unconstitutionally prohibits lawyers and judges from daring to say anything that might possibly be construed as negative about a judge. And the State Bar has a monolithic hold on Arizona attorneys - you cannot practice law in Arizona without being a member of the State Bar (something we disagree with, we would like to see this stranglehold taken away and turn the Bar into a voluntary association).

The Bar's Ethical Rule 8.2, Judicial and Legal Officials, states:
(a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory officer or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.
This Ethical Rule has been used to target conservative attorneys in the past when they have had conflicts with liberal judges. It has been broadly interpreted in order to squelch unwanted criticism. This is an offensive encroachment on the free speech rights of attorneys, who don't check their rights at the State Bar door once they become attorneys.

Consequently, the identities of anyone providing this kind of information must remain confidential, or risk a politically motivated investigation by the State Bar. The State Bar is controlled by left wing attorneys who don't want a website like this to exist.

Some of our sources are very bright, accomplished attorneys and judges, but we don't have the luxury of telling you who they are.

The Center for Arizona Policy points to their own questionnaire of judges instead, and suggests that it is a better guide. We disagree. Hardly any judges responded. Only three Superior Court judges did. One reputable judge we talked to laughed when he saw that any judges responded, due to the risk of putting your viewpoints on judicial philosophy out there - leaving yourself open for opponents to target you in future elections - and forget about a career involving a federal court position. Most of the judges who responded to their survey submitted vague responses, it's impossible to tell from their letters whether they are liberal or conservative. Their survey of judges is practically meaningless.

If this website is so untrustworthy, why haven't we had a single judge contact us and ask for a correction? We have yet to hear from any judge objecting to our characterizations of them, and this site has been around since 2008. That speaks volumes. We urge our readers to read the comments after these posts for more information on the judges that others have provided.

We are deeply disappointed in the Center for Arizona Policy. We are on the same side, but instead they have gone out of their way to tell others to avoid our website. The trusted attorneys and judges that have provided us with information are also disappointed.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Quick guide to judges up for election this year

Judges this site gave top reviews to (generally conservative)

Court of Appeals
Dan Barker
Philip Hall
Jon Thompson

Maricopa County Superior Court
Brian Ishikawa
Peter Reinstein
Eileen Willett

Judges this site gave moderate reviews to (generally moderates, lean conservative)

Supreme Court
Rebecca Berch

Court of Appeals
John Gemmill*
Sheldon Weisberg

Maricopa County Superior Court
Mark Aceto
Roger Brodman
Norman Davis***
Alfred Fenzel
George Foster
Pendleton Gaines
Brian Hauser
Jean Hoag
Carey Hyatt
Michael Jones
Kenneth Mangum
Karen O'Connor
Maria Del Mar Verdin

Judges this site gave negative reviews to (generally slightly left-leaning)

Court of Appeals
Michael Brown
Pat Irvine
Lawrence Winthrop

Maricopa County Superior Court
Arthur Anderson
Janet Barton
Emmet Ronan
David Talamante

Judges this site gave very poor reviews to (generally very liberal)

Maricopa County Superior Court
Aimee Anderson**
Edward Bassett
Dawn Bergin
William Brotherton
Roger Budoff
Edward Burke
Harriett Chavez
Gary Donahoe
Sally Duncan (we're told she's listed as Sally Schneider on the ballot)
Dean Fink
Richard Gama**
Larry Grant
Warren Granville
Hugh Hegyi
Joseph Heilman
Bethany Hicks
Joseph Kreamer
Raymond Lee
Daniel Martin
Rosa Mroz
Sam Myers
Benjamin Norris
Susanna Pineda**
Douglas Rayes
John Rea
Samuel Thumma
Randall Warner
Joseph Welty

*A reputable source tells us the reason why Judge Gemmill's decisions fall into the moderate, not conservative category, are because of his libertarian persuasion.

**One reputable prosecutor who practices regularly in front of Superior Court judges disagrees that Judges Aimee Anderson, Richard Gama and Susanna Pineda are liberal. Anderson and Pineda were both Napolitano appointees.

***We apologize, we had this incorrectly listed as Glenn Davis, but it is actually Norman Davis who is up for retention.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reviews of Maricopa County judges for 2010 coming soon

We have received numerous emails asking us about the 2010 ballot, which will be mailed to early voters in a couple of weeks. Since none of us are attorneys (out of fear from retaliation from the Arizona Bar and their cronies on the bench, no attorneys are willing to be associated with this website) we will need to do some research first, but we promise you we will have the new reviews up before early ballots are sent out. Feel free to tell others they can check back in early October.

We do not have any connections in other counties, but if anyone in other counties would like to email us information we can post, please do: